Wednesday, July 13, 2016

7/13/16-Volcanic Tablelands Bishop CA 20160505-20150510

The furbabies and I loved the Volcanic Tablelands outside of Bishop CA. A huge shout out and thank you to my friend, Glenn, for sending me the coordinates to a fabulous campsite.

It was here that I discovered my Nonnikins likes heights! Who knew?!? Not only does she like heights, she would scale the cliffs like she was a mountain goat! It scared me immensely, but it made her so happy I had to hold my breath and let her play.

Here’s a staged pic of Nonni and Bentley on the ledge. Nonni’s expression seems to say, “What’s the big deal?” Oy vey.

Ravens love to soar high in the sky, and we were so high up Ravens buzzed us daily. It was a thrill to hear their unique “swish swish” wing-flapping rhythm.

Another pic of my darling furbabies.

You should have seen me trying to drive stakes through the VOLCANIC TABLELANDS in order to secure the patio and dog mats. There’s a reason it’s named “volcanic and table”. Derrrr me. LOL.

Nonetheless, the land, such as it was, yielded beautiful plants and flowers. Amazing.


One day I looked up to see Jim and Gayle, of Life’s LittleAdventures. After following their blog for almost 5 years I finally got to meet them in person. You can read their blog post on our meeting (here). What a thrill that was for me! Thank you Gayle and Jim!

To celebrate Mother’s Day, May 8, I took a pic of Nonni and Bentley. And my bff, Connie, sent me a pic of our Miss Hope. A purrfect ending to my stay in CA.

TBI HS SYMPTOMS - The Rest of the Story

After Jim and Gayle left, I was wishing I had been brave enough to tell them that I was alone and scared, and worried about getting back to Arizona to be with Bob and the caravan again. But how do you tell someone you just met a story like that? You don’t. Or at least I don’t.

Plus I was in constant contact with my bff and tribe member, Tracy, and she had offered to come get me so I wasn’t exactly all alone. Still, I was at the end of my tether, so to speak, and concerned each day that I might not make it to the next. Colvin came to Volcanic Tablelands after I had been there awhile, but stayed just two nights. He was about to leave again when I had one of my worst seizures ever. He stayed with me through that, and we parted ways for good the following day.

Here is where I hesitate to be transparent with you my wonderful readers, but I am committed to making a difference for others that might also be recovering from a brain injury. I’m also committed to living courageously and authentically as described by BreneBrown in The Gifts of Imperfection and Daring Greatly. It is who I want to be. So, I share….

The seizure from hell left me partially blind in my lower left eye, and to date, that has not cleared up. I can only assume by now that it is permanent. No, I am not driving all the way back to Texas to be checked by my doctors. Repeatedly they have made it clear there is nothing that can be done for my HS, Hippocampal Sclerosis, or the tissue damage that has been done behind my left eye from a horrible tumble I took last year that landed me in the ER. I will see my doctors again next spring when I return to Texas, and that is that. I know to some that seems highly irresponsible.

So might this next bit of information….

Once we agreed we were going our separate ways, Colvin headed north as had been our plan all along, and I plugged Flagstaff in to Siri. Here is where I did something you might not understand....

I drove.

The day after a major seizure, and with vision in my left eye partially gone, I drove. And it felt good.

I’ll share more about the drive from Bishop, CA to Flagstaff, AZ and what happened there in my next post, but at 40 mph I drove the back roads to freedom and restoration. It was worth it. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Was it the smartest thing for me to do? Logically, probably not. Healthwise, it was marginal. For my spirit, it was electrifying.

Was I afraid? Yes. I felt the fear and did it anyway. Could it have gone a million ways wrong? Yes. But it didn’t. I am so blessed to have so many who care for me. Also, my faith in God and Oneness has never been stronger. Wait until you read my upcoming blog posts my wonderful readers. You are going to meet some amazing people.


7/13/16-Part 3, Alabama Hills Lone Pine CA 20160422-20160505

The Mobius Arch Loop and the Arch Loop Trail in the Alabama Hills are very accessible, easy to walk, and lead to several natural arches (info here).

The pic above is the Mobius Arch, and the following is what it looks like when a professional photographs it:

This next pic is a nearby smaller arch. Is it just because I’m a Star Wars fan or does this view make it look a little like Jabba the Hutt?

Same arch – only this time I see a heart.

Part of the trail....

The next time I camp at Alabama Hills, I hope to go up Horseshoe Meadows Road, the big “Z” in the following pic.

Unfortunately, this time it was still closed “due to winter storms”.

The one road I did get to go up, however, was the Mt. Whitney Portal Road. Wow, oh wow. Other than the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas, this was my first experience on such a road. You’d be proud of me my wonderful readers – I squealed and held my breath several times, but not once did I close my eyes. LOL.

This is what the road looks like during the first part of the ascent.

And the next 3 pics give you an idea of the experience looking down – straight down!!

When you get to the top, or at least to the end of the road, you are officially in the Whitney Portal Recreation Area of the Inyo National Forest. It is beautiful, and there are many campgrounds, picnic areas and two trailheads – Mt. Whitney Trailhead (of course), and the Meysan Lakes Trailhead. I’d love to think that I can do some hiking up there one day. There is also a general store and a fabulous waterfall. The waterfall appeared to flow from the top of the mountain. It was so loud! And cold! The pic below is just a small portion of it.

It was 70ish at camp just 30 minutes earlier so I was shocked that it was snowing! Here is a marker board displayed at the general store. Wow, what a difference in temps.

I got to see my first “active bear” warning sign. (The first pic below, not the 2nd one, lol. I snagged the latter from FB.)

This Steller’s Jay followed the van for quite awhile. So pretty.

And lastly, a selfie – back at camp – with Mt. Whitney behind me.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

7/10/16-Part 2, Alabama Hills Lone Pine CA 20160422-20160505

In general, I try not to cite Wikipedia, but I looked at several websites for Lone Pine (including their Chamber of Commerce), and was not impressed. So, if you want details on this wonderful little town, click (here).

The welcome sign speaks truth.

I spent a lot of time at the Lone Star Bistro in town; the only coffee shop. They evidently don’t have a website, but they offer free internet – with signs everywhere that indicate you have to buy something to stay on the premises, and limit wifi use to 2 hours. Not the friendliest bistro, but it had a lovely interior and a nice ambiance. I wanted to ask them if the “Lone Star” name had anything to do with Texas, but I was afraid I would get run out of town.

I splurged one day and bought myself a cappuccino. I think this server was new – she was friendly. The coffee was delicious – and pretty.

Outside of Lone Pine is the Manzanar National Historic Site. You can walk the grounds or do a self-guided driving tour. I chose to drive. I couldn’t walk on what felt like hallowed ground. I cried and had to pull over several times. I know I sound very dramatic – please forgive me that, but on occasion, as I sat in my van and read the signs, I even found it hard to breathe. The energy on this site, almost 45 years later, was very heavy.

There was a Japanese family touring the dilapidated gardens while I was there. I was torn between wanting to get out and give them a hug vs. avoiding eye contact.

I cannot bring myself to write about this place or the stain on our history, but Jim and Gayle at Life’s Little Adventures did so eloquently. You can click (here) to read their blog post that includes info on Manzanar.

On a lighter note, back at camp, some awesome sites….

Hogback Creek Trail

Going ... and ... Coming Back

At the end of the trail.

Shark’s Fin

In this next picture, you can see the rock formation, Shark’s Fin, to the far left.

There is a lot of rock climbing activity in the Alabama Hills. Many areas are undergoing restoration.

The BLM and Stewardship Group built a wonderful walking trail to Shark's Fin.

They had to take extreme measures to keep ATVs from driving to it even though they had signs posted everywhere and even placed rocks as barriers near the parking lot.

If you look closely at this next pic you can see some of the anchor points in the rock that climbers use to reach the summit. I've circled a few of them.

And it may not look very tall in my pics….

But it is.

I enjoyed watching the climbers from my van. Best seat in the house Hills. Note the rainbow beginning to form on the horizon behind the Shark’s Fin in this final pic.